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Austro-Hungarian Empire: Cornettes

Broad Pennants

Last modified: 2014-04-11 by rob raeside
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Cornette, 1786

[cornette] image by Željko Heimer, 3 October 2007

Following tradition of black-yellow "Stendard" or "breite Wimpel" determined in the 1730 See-Articuli, with the introduction of the red-white-red Josephinian naval ensign the regulations established another long lasting flag, the command signal for the commander of a group of ships named cornette as rectangular a swallow-tailed flag in the newly introduced pattern. This is also found in (English) sources named as the broad pennant.

The 1828 regulations (that introduce new Imperial standard and Admiral flag) retain this flag now being used for "Line Ship Captains" and "Frigate Captains" commanding a group of ships. [I believe the two mentioned ranks are "Linienschifkaptän" and "Fregattenkaptän", but I may be misspelling them here. They would be equivalent of full Captain and Commander in English terminology.]

1853 regulations (introducing the Gross-Admiral flag and a new design for the Admiral flag) again retained the cornette now reserving it only for full Captains in command of a formation of ships.

The 1880 regulations (changing the use of previous admirals ranks flags into flags for admirals and generals) still retained the cornette in the same design, now being a Commodore Pennant. Also, this flag is given a new function - namely if hoisted from a crossbar hanging of two strings from the mast - this was the Seniority Pennant - designating the highest ranking officer present on a ship in a group of ships.
Željko Heimer, 3 October 2007

Cornette, 1894

[cornette] image by Željko Heimer, 3 October 2007

With the "1894 Muster" this design was dropped and changed into a triangularly shaped swallow-tailed pennant of basically the same design (with modernization of the crown depiction, of course, as per all 1894 flags) named Commodore- und Anciennetäts-Stander. Again, the distinction in hoisting method as in 1880 was preserved, so when normally hoisted was used as the Commodore Pennant, and hoisted from a hanging crossbar as the Seniority Pennant.
Željko Heimer, 3 October 2007

Cornette, 1915

[cornette] image by Željko Heimer, 3 October 2007

The last prescribed naval flags regulations of Austria-Hungary in 1915, that were never implemented, introduced a new design of this pennant, replacing the crowned coat of arms with a single red six-pointed star. Baumgartner only mentions it as Commodore's Pennant, not mentioning its use as Seniority Pennant, but since no other flag was prescribed for that use, it may well be that the previous practice of its use from a hanging crossbar for Seniority Pennant was also retained.
Željko Heimer, 3 October 2007


- Josef von Lehnert: "Beiträge zur Geschichte der k. k. Flagge. Vortrag, gehalten im militär-wissenschaftlichen Verein zu Wien am 13. März 1885", Organ der militär-wissenschaftlichen Vereine, nr. 31, Mayer, Wien 1886 p. 14
- Lothar Baumgartner: Die Entwicklung der österreichischen Marineflagge, Militaria Austriaca, Gesellschaft für Österreichische Heereskunde, Wien, 1977 p. 31
- Friedrich Heyer von Rosenfeld: "Die See-Flaggen, National und Provincial-Fahnen sowie Cocarden aller Laender", Verlag der kaiserlich-königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Wien, 1883 pl. 2
- "Flags of Maritime Nations", U.S. Department of the Navy, Bureau of Equipment, Washington, 1899. pl. 7
- No. 28. Kundmachung des Handelsministeriums vom 6. März 1869, über die Einführung einer neuen Flagge für die See-Handelsschiffe der österreichisch-ungarischen Monarchie. Reichsgesetzblatt für das Kaiserthum Oesterreich 1869 (13.3.1869), p. 111 (+ plate)
- Moritz Ruhl: "Flaggenbuch", Reichs-Marine-Amt, Berlin, 1905. pl. II-49 pl. II-48
- "Drawings of the Flags in Use at the Present Time by Various Nations", H. M. Stationery Office, Greenwich, 1907. pl. 52
Željko Heimer, 3 October 2007